The Politics Of The Parkland Worker

In our lifetime, in various church programs, in sustained graduate level theological education, and in simple service to the church, we have encountered rigourous, structured theologies that have sought to provide theoretical grounds useful for promoting: capitalism, socialism, Marxism, colonialism, war, psychology, unrestrained consumption, corporate structure, and even play.

But we have come to first realize and then to accept that biblical politics never elicits a particularized, elaborate political theology in any form. The gospel itself is not an ideology. Consequent attempts to turn it into one always become gratuitous at best and insidious at worst.

There is, however, one central, three-word political statement in scripture. It reads time and again like this: Jesus is Lord.

Have no doubt about it, the Christian Bible makes as its central political statement the reign of Christ, historically, now, and forever.

This politic preempts all rulers and governments, and those who pretend to leadership. It subjugates incumbents and revolutionaries alike. And it surpasses any promise made by any ideology contrived outside of it.

PM_IMG_0005Now, this is by no means either a simplistic reduction or an unresponsive ignoring in regard to the actual political activities of humans in the world. No, it is the opposite. The reign of Christ as pictured in the New Testament overwhelmingly, among other things, liberates the captive, makes amends for the poor, and advocates for the oppressed. It also confounds all governments, rebukes every regime, and undermines all principalities.  Within the Catholic Worker tradition the public affairs to which we are called as disciples is accomplished through a gentle personalism within the context of a community that exists under the lordship of Christ, and for which it is neither ashamed nor shy about standing up.

That, in a nutshell, is that to which we are politically subject as Christians, as Catholic Workers, and as Benedictine oblates.